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Tributes paid to former BMC chief after avalanche tragedy

Posted 13 July 2012
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Tributes paid to former BMC chief after avalanche tragedy
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Tributes have been paid to former British Mountaineering Council (BMC) general secretary Roger Payne, who was killed by an avalanche on Mont Blanc this week.

Mr Payne was one of three Britons who lost their lives in the incident, which was unusual for summer.

He became national officer of the BMC in 1989 and then general secretary in 1995, before leaving the organisation in 2001.

Mr Payne was originally from London, but became a lover of the outdoors when he discovered the mountains of Scotland and then began rock climbing in England and Wales.

BMC chief executive David Turnbull remarked: "The mountaineering world is shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Roger Payne, former BMC general secretary and ex-president of the British Mountain Guides.

"Roger was one of the UK's most enthusiastic and respected climbers with a track record of Alpine and Himalayan mountaineering stretching back to the 1980s."

Those who like to head for the crags with a climbing rope always do so knowing there is an element of risk, which adds to the thrill.

Avalanches are uncommon in the UK outside the winter months, with the one snow risk in summer being faced by walkers who step on overhanging cornices that can linger on the highest Scottish peaks.

Winter can bring snow avalanches in England and Wales as well as Scotland, with even leading mountaineers prone to being caught in them - an example being Alan Hinkes, the only Briton to climb all the world's 14 peaks over 8,000 m, who was deluged in snow in the Lake District.

In Scotland, the Snowsport Scottish Avalanche Information Service provides an early warning forecast of where the main rsisk are, focused on five areas of the Highlands most prone to such events.

Those starting to think about their winter walking plans may wish to take steps to bolster their own safety, including purchasing equipment like an ice axe and crampons.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801406799-ADNFCR